Einstein's Archives Now Available Online
March 20, 2012

Einstein’s Archives Now Available Online

In honor of Albert Einstein´s 133rd birthday, Israel´s Hebrew University of Jerusalem launched his archives on an expanded Einstein  Archives Online website. The site carries more than 80,000 of his documents including personal papers. The papers are being pulled from a climate-controlled safe and photographed with high resolution cameras.

This new project is being funded with a grant by the Polonsky Foundation UK, who digitized Isaac Newton´s collection. ´The items in Einstein´s collection have been cataloged and enhanced with cross-referencing technology, reports Daniel Estrin for Associated Press (AP). The advanced search technology will enable searches of all related documents by subject, author and recipient.

Menachem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University said, “Knowledge is not about hiding. It´s about openness.”

Einstein was one of the founders of the Hebrew University. He contributed the original manuscript of his Theory of Relativity to the university in 1925, when it was founded. The rest of his papers and the rights to use his image were bequeathed to the University when he died in 1955.

Some of the papers included in the expanded collection includes papers from his personal and public life up to the year 1921. There are 14 notebooks with research notes, letters to his contemporaries and his physics research. Also included was a handwritten explanation of his theory of relativity including an explanation of his famous equation E=MC2.

Some of the private papers include a postcard to his ailing mother, correspondence with his several lovers, and fan-mail.

One six-year old wrote to him, “I saw your picture in the paper. I think you ought to have your haircut.”

The collection shows the depth and breadth of Einstein´s influence on the science world. According to Ben-Sasson, “This project relates to different academic disciplines: physics and basic science, the history of science, the history of Zionism and of the Hebrew University. I see great importance in the completion of another stage of the digitization project of the Einstein Archive. The Hebrew University has invested considerable effort to advance this project and is happy to make to make the world of this great scientist and person accessible to the interested general public.”


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Image Caption: Photo of Einstein at his home in Princeton, 1949. Taken by Life magazine staff photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt for story published in 1949. Wikipedia